So for the last week I've not posted a thing. My life has not been uneventful, I have not been in a coma, but I have been in and out and hyou know how that goes.
I went to Westercon with julesjones
and had a wonderful time. It was like all the best parts of school. (I loved being a student -- going to classes, listening to lectures, trying on new ideas, talking to people in an intellectual context. I wasn't the greatest in terms of discipline and focus, but sheer enthusiasm carried me for a long time before things got hard enough that I actually had to work) One of the guests was Marianne Porter, an employee of the Pennsylvania Health Department
, who gava a presentation on current and future trends in disease and participated in panels on public health and genetics and law and . . . The disease presentation was billed as being about bioterror mainly and I almost didn't go because I didn't know her yet and I didn't want to sit through a bunch of paranoid raving. I decided that because I've decided that disease as a weapon is an important factor in Afterwar
I had to go regardless of how painfully dumb it might turn out to be. And then! It turned out to be wonderful! And she gave me her notes! Which includes copies of the slides! Only a little bit of it was about bioterror, and that part came after a really interesting and informative discussion of how disease evolves and the history of disease and people and most of all the status of disease and what public health people are looking out for and what they're doing about it.
And an up-to-then up-to-date explanation of Andrew Speaker, the asshole with the multiple drug resistant TB who thinks his right to fly to Europe for a honeymoon trumps other people's rights to get on an airplane without having their lives willfully endangered. (Since arriving in Denver, where he will be confined to hospital for two years, they have found that what they originally thought was extensively drug resistant tuberculosis was merely multpily drug resistant tuberculosis. He has given a press conference -- by proxy, he can't be exposed to reporters at the moment -- in which he said that the Centers for Disease Control ruined his life and acted half-cocked and there was nothing to worry about after all -- but the CDC says that the disease he has warrants the exact same precautions as the disease they thought he had). She didn't call the man names. She was very polite.julesjones
is a generous and wonderful person who put me up and put up with me for ages and ages. We went to most panels together, though when I was first exposed to the fantastically brilliant and comprehensible Ms. Porter, she was at a writing panel. Also I went to the Global Warming panel while she was doing another writing panel. Actually, all weekend, we were doing the biology track and the writing track. I have to say Westercon did a brilliant job in the science panels. The people who were on the panels actually knew something about the topics they were talking about, they stayed more or less on topic (I'm not against digression. I just like the digression to be pointful and to come back to the topic at hand within a reasonable amount of time). There were not stupid spherical cow arguments. This is not to say people always agreed about everything or had the same point of view. Frank Wu, for example, on the DNA panel, is a patent agent for a pharmaceutical company. So his take on patents is different from a sane person's. But: he is sane about it, and had interesting things to say about the industry, and his point of view added to the whole picture. Perhaps because he actually is sane. Maybe he wouldn't like having that said about him.
The other biology sessions I went to were about the legalities, ethics, precedents, and efficacy of quarantine, social isolation, and patient isolation in the face of epidemics and a presentation on "alien sex" by Patricia McEwen -- actually, what she does is gather up some really strange behaviors of Earthly organisms (so far mostly animals, mostly macroscopic), chosen to coordinate with a particular theme. She says she wants writers to develop really more alien sex in their writing and she's giving inspiration. Well, she's inspired julesjones
already. I'm cogitating, myself.
Also I workshopped a story there, and I'm rewriting it heavily with the advice I got there. It's becoming a much stronger story. I don't get why I often write a story with dampened affect and missing details in the first several drafts. I know I've done it but it's not until I get someone else to read it that I figure out exactly what I've left out and where I've got to put it. The story in question is the evacuation team in the subsiding neighborhood one. One of the cool things is that Kay Tracy, one of the other members of the workshop, is involved with Civil Air Patrol and had a lot of FEMA and search-and-rescue knowledge and she put me on the right path to sorting out authorities and responsibilities and permissions. It's really quite cool, because although the story is about a made-up agency and made-up rules, it's more interesting to embed them properly in a continuum from the here and now and actual procedures.
Okay, what's going to happen is sort of spammy. Because I'm thinking about a lot of things at once, so it would be a really long post with too many changes of subject. But it's going to be a gentle spammy flow, not a logorrheic cascade, because I have work and writing and housework to do too.
Oh, some information, just for me, and just for the record: A suitable lover
is at 65K, I've started chapter thirteen, and I think it will be 14 or 15 chapters. Also, I've lost fifteen pounds (I'm bouncing between the fourteen and sixteen marks now: I have about 55 to go till I'm done, though I will still be heavier than most people), and I have quit keeping the night pain diary for now because it's boring to write "one or two wakings, negligible pain, negligible morning grogginess" over and over. Pain and range-of-motion issues are not gone, but they are managed. Yay me! and Yay Dr. Johsens! and Yay meloxicam and gabapentin! and Yay exercises!